Telling your brand story in a compelling way is challenging. How do you communicate who you are, what you do, why you’re different? How do you talk about your product or service? Your employees? Your beliefs? How do you send a consistent, cohesive message that resonates with people (especially if you’re working with many different content creators)? If you want to tell your story the right way, you need to communicate the right way. Luckily, with a strong brand messaging architecture, you can.
What Is Brand Messaging Architecture?
No matter what content or copy you’re writing, from product brochures to your Twitter bio, everything should always reinforce your brand story. But ask five different people on your team and they might describe what you do five different ways. Brand messaging architecture is a simple framework to help your team talk about your brand in a uniform way that both educates and resonates with people.
In short, it’s how to communicate the story of who you are, what you do, and what you can do for them in simple language.
What Does Brand Messaging Architecture Look Like?
Your brand messaging architecture is a carefully constructed framework comprised of your:
- Brand positioning
- Value proposition
- Brand stories
The architecture is built intentionally, laddering up from your basic benefits (brand stories) to your brand positioning. Depending on where people are in their buyer’s journey, it provides entry points into your brand story.
How to Create Your Brand Messaging Architecture
You may have a version of your brand messaging architecture—or pieces of it—already documented. If it’s been a while, however, gather your brand team and discuss each element in detail. Once you have each element articulated, it’s important to visualize it so that content creators can see how each tier influences the next. (And once completed, you should also include it in your brand guidelines so that everyone has access.)
Whether you’re starting from scratch or need to go back to basics, here’s how to craft a brand messaging architecture that is effective and easy to use.
1) Brand Positioning
Your brand positioning is basically your position in the marketplace. What niche do you fill? How are you different than your competitors? To identify this, you need to conduct market research, as a well as a thorough competitive analysis. (Here’s a convenient template you can copy, plus our step-by-step guide to do one if you’re a noob.)
Once you’ve done that research and identified where you stand, it’s time to articulate it. There are plenty of ways to do this, but we’re always fans of keeping things simple. That’s why we like this template from branding pro Marty Neumeier, which helps you distill your positioning into a one-sentence description that explains what you do better than everyone else:
2) Value Proposition
Your value prop is simple: It explains both the functional and emotional benefits your product or service provides—the value people get from it. It’s an extension of your positioning, specifying exactly how your brand solves a problem and, most importantly, why people should choose you.
Any easy way to articulate this is with Steve Blank’s XYZ template:
It’s important to articulate your value prop well, as these benefits will be echoed throughout your brand materials, either directly (e.g., on your homepage) or indirectly (e.g., through your blog articles). If the idea of succinctly crafting a value prop overwhelms you, don’t worry. Here are our best tips to create an awesome value prop, based on research.
Of everything involved in your brand messaging architecture, crafting your tagline is where your inner Don Draper can really shine. Your tagline is a short, snappy summation that combines both your brand positioning and value prop. For example, think of Home Depot. They’re all about empowering DIYers, which is summed up in their tagline: “You can do it. We can help.”
4) Brand Stories
Brand stories are a crucial element of your brand, and an incredibly useful tool for content creators. They are basically the three major themes, benefits, or selling points that make your brand unique.
As you craft your architecture, identify your three stories, as well as additional talking points that support them. For example, a cookie company might identify their three brand stories as:
- Best ingredients
Sourced from local farmers
Free of pesticides, GMOs, etc.
- Inspired by the seasons
- Unique flavors
- Tested by own employees
- New twists on old classics
One great thing about your brand stories is that by distilling them down into brief talking points, you identify catchy phrases or keywords you can infuse into all of your content, whether it’s product packaging or a social media ad.
How to Use Your Brand Messaging Architecture
Any time you create a piece of content, it should directly map to your brand messaging architecture, whether it’s a new series of articles meant to reinforce your brand positioning, or sales material that highlights your value prop.
We also find it especially helpful to brainstorm around specific brand stories, as a single brand story can easily become an entire vertical of content. For example, if one of your cookie company’s brand stories is “distinct flavors,” you might create:
- A spotlight on the tastemakers who come up with your flavors
- A deep dive into the ingredients you use
- A #tbt post on the first flavor you ever created
- A contest to vote on the next flavor
- A roundup of seasonal flavors
- A quick data visualization for Instagram that shows the popularity of different flavors
Ultimately, the goal of your brand messaging architecture is to help you create content with a through-line that reinforces your brand story.
Remember: Brand Messaging Architecture Is Just One Tool
There are plenty of ways to tell your brand story. The more tools you have, the better your story will be. For more tips on engaging with people through content:
- Create personas so that you can know which stories will resonate with the people you’re trying to reach.
- Follow these tips to craft brand messaging that actually converts.
- Try these 7 creative ways to tell your brand story.
And if you need any story ideas, let’s chat about it.